Tech startup Lista PH aims to help small businesses, freelancers, and individuals all over the country gain free access to digital tools to manage their business and collect over ₱75 million in receivables via a smartphone.
Through its financial inclusion app, Lista PH provides Filipinos a free and secure way of managing finances such as tracking debts, recording transactions, and even issuing invoices.
Lista PH records ₱75 million worth of debts paid in four months
“Helping Philippine MSMEs was an advocacy close to my heart. Growing up, I saw the challenges my family endured in running a sari-sari store (community store),” shared Lista PH co-founder Aaron Villegas. “I spent almost a year just talking to various MSMEs in the province and trying different ideas to help them grow. And that’s when I realized that the first thing to do to really help them grow is through digitization and replacing pen and paper with easy-to-use tech,” he adds.
As the pandemic struck early last year, digitization of business processes proved to be pivotal in ensuring the continuity of business operations. Micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs were among the most affected during the prolonged quarantines – 74% of these businesses halted operations due to the lockdowns according to the Department of Trade and Industry. MSMEs are vital to the Philippine economy as they comprise about 99.51% of business establishments in the country and employ around 63% of the country’s workforce, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Lista PH also conducted a survey among 300 microentrepreneurs on the topic of how they do their record-keeping. Results showed that 26% are not able to track all their income and expenses. 64% also said that they use traditional and most often manual methods to monitor income, expenses, and customer debts such as writing on notebooks, while only 3% use digital tools such as Microsoft Excel.
Using digital tools can help fill this gap and allow them to record transactions and track their growth more easily. Lista PH aims to help MSMEs, including freelancers, logistics operators, and riders, and other small businesses, digitize their business and provide a free and secure way of easily managing their finances.
“MSMEs are the backbone of the Philippine economy and it’s time we stop leaving them behind,” said Lista PH Co-founder Khriz Lim. “Through this app, we want to revolutionize the way MSMEs operate and provide them with a reliable digital partner for small businesses in the country.”
Since its launch in September, Lista has helped collect over ₱75 million in receivables of MSMEs or an average of ₱3,800 paid per user all over the Philippines.
Supporting the advocacy of financial inclusion for MSMEs is Brian Cu, former Grab Philippines president, and co-founder, as Lista PH’s investors, who shares his insights, “Financial awareness and inclusion remain to be a big problem here in the Philippines and the reason for that is a lot of our MSMEs don’t have the right tools even though they do understand that money needs to come in, money needs to go out in their business, they are unable to track it.”
Cu continued, “Lista is about helping the common man, about helping that core customer and getting them into the digital age and uplifting their lives by giving them a tool to help them understand their finances more and hopefully be able to build their businesses in a larger way because of the tool.”
Joining Cu in Lista PH’s impressive roster of renowned local and regional investors are Monde Nissin Family Ventures Willy Arifin, Jupiter Bank Chief Executive Officer Jitendra Gupta, Pinelabs Chief Executive Officer Amrish Rau, CRED founder Kunal Shah, Google Asia Pacific Senior Execs Aurelien Pichon, and Alap Bharadwaj and other prominent angel investors.
They are also backed by Saison Capital bank in Japan as well as East Ventures and 1982 Ventures, which are venture capital firms that fund promising early fintech startups in Southeast Asia.
“Lista is empowering millions of MSME businesses in the Philippines [to] move from pen and paper to digital,” said Herston Powers, Managing Partner and Co-founder at 1982 Ventures. He continued, “The book-keeping app space in the Philippines is wide open and Aaron and Khriz are the right founders to capture the opportunity. Lista’s product and strong traction have put them in pole position to win the market.”